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tv   ABC World News Now  ABC  May 28, 2010 3:05am-4:30am EDT

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[vibrates] g morning, sunshine. wakey, wakey. text me. [chattering] are your parents home later? we can hang. l.u.v.--love you. jk. holla back. holla back. holla back. are you with your friends? that's lame. we're in a huge fight right now. x.o. what'd you dream about? me? [overlapping] is it something i did? are you on your way to the mall? i'm lonely. nude pics. send me some. [beep] text me. may soon join brands like hummer junk heap. the company is said to be phasing out the 71-year-old brand because of poor sales. ford sold only 92,000 mercuries
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last year. well, it is the hollywood sequel two years in the making. take two for universal studios back lot. >> the back lot was destroyed in a fire in 2008. it reopened yesterday after undergoing a $200 million renovation. it features 13 new york city blocks and was the set for films such as "back to the future," "to kill a mockingbird" and "the blues brothers." >> in addition to new york the back lot can be transformed to look look london or any other city. >> you can tell it was fake, if it was really new york the streets would not be that clean. >> you're right about that. here is your friday forecast. severe weather from atlanta to norfolk, virginia. and thunderstorms stretching as far north as new jersey. golf ball-sized hail in the dakotas, wyoming and nebraska. rain from northern california to seattle. afternoon showers in new orleans, little rock and memphis. >> highs near 70 in the northeast. 77 in chicago. 82 in detroit. 86 in omaha.
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phoenix just shy of 100. albuquerque 86. salt lake city will be get up to 70. if curiosity killed the cat there's one in australia with eight lives left. >> the kitten is fluffier, whiter and cleaner than ever after taking a death-defying joyride in a washing machine. kimba jumped inside the machine. the owner didn't realize what happened until after he opened the door after a 30-minute cycle. >> kimba was drenched and hype thermic but otherwise okay. >> i can believe he didn't see it but how did he not hear it as the cat was going nuts? >> they renamed her bounce,think. >> poor kimba. we'll be right back. whoo!
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awake again? n honking. a short time ago, this woman suffered from
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there are new revelations this morning the 2004 murder case of riley fox. the little girl was found dead in an illinois creek.
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she had been raped and murdered and her father, kevin cox, was charged with her death after confessing. >> he then said his confession was coerced and dna helped clear him. now dna has helped break the case again. ashleigh banfield has more. >> reporter: today, justice for 3-year-old riley fox. >> half an hour ago i appeared before the honorable gerald kinny, the chief judge of will county, and obtained a warrant for the arrest of scott biebe on five counts first degree murder, one count of predatory sexual assault. >> reporter: key dna evidence finally solved the mystery behind who really killed riley, a question that's consumed the community of wilmington, illinois, for nearly six years. this man, scott edie, a habitual criminal and sex offender currently serving 14 years in prison, confessed to the crime. >> i've never dealt with a case, you know, this heart-wrenching that took so long to get a resolution. but this resolution i think has
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everyone just so gratified that we're able to finally put this to rest. >> reporter: a final vindication for her family, who's been unable to rest since 2004 when riley, who was sleeping on her living room sofa, suddenly vanished. her body was found just hours later in a nearby creek. she'd been sexually assaulted, gagged, and drowned. the community rallied around riley's grieving family until a shocking revelation. kevin fox, her father, had confessed to the crime. >> i just can't believe it. no. he was a loving father, totally. >> we've been to some ceremonies, the benefits, the everything for the family. it's all been an act. >> reporter: but it turns out the confession was false. coerced by police, as authorities confirmed once again. >> at this point it's clear that there's no evidence of any kind that will connect kevin fox to this murder of his 3-year-old daughter.
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>> reporter: but how could a seemingly doting father confess to such a despicable crime against his own little girl? fox said police badgered him for 14 hours straight. >> it broke me down mentally, physically, emotionally. but i stayed strong, i knew -- i denied everything. saying, you were trapped in a burning room and there is only one door and the fire was just flaming around you. it was my only way out. >> reporter: kevin said the detectives then showed him photos of his own daughter's dead body and refused to let him speak to his father or a lawyer. >> this is a father who was grieving over the loss of his daughter and the way these investigators handled him was so unbelievably cruel. >> reporter: what happened six years ago is hard for anyone to fathom. >> we were just a happy young family.
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>> reporter: they had two children. 3-year-old riley and 6-year-old tyler. until that tragic morning where it all went wrong. kevin fox was awakened by his son. >> he shook my leg and said, dad. and i said, what's up, buddy? he said that -- he said, dad, riley's gone. so then i started panicking. and then i kept telling myself, this can't be. >> reporter: 40 minutes later, kevin called the police. >> i woke up this morning and my daughter's nowhere, nowhere to be found. >> reporter: the police and volunteers began the search. >> i would never, ever in a million years wish for any parent to go through it. >> reporter: but riley wouldn't be found alive. >> and that's when i saw her. she was face-down. she was face-down in the creek. >> reporter: but who could do such a thing? it didn't take long before police zeroed in on the fox
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family, interrogating each and every one of them. >> okay, how old are you, tyler? >> 6. >> 6 years old? where were you sleeping? >> the chair. >> reporter: riley's father kevin became the main suspect. at the time of the crime his wife was away and police said there was no sign of forced entry. that turned out to be wrong. they extracted a confession. also wrong. he spent eight months behind bars, facing the death penalty. but a trial never happened. and inexplicably, police ordered the dna tests stopped. >> a horrible mistake was made here. >> reporter: that's where kathleen zelner saw something was very wrong. she took the tiny dna sample and made sure it was privately tested. it turned out kevin was not a match. not only was he released from jail, he sued the state and won big. $15 million.
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an award that was ultimately reduced. but still, doubts in the community remained. >> it's very difficult for people to accept that you confess to something you didn't do. >> reporter: that is, until a major tip came in. a tip suggesting police take another look at this man. scott ebie. a neighbor who lived just miles away from the foxes. and a man who was already serving time for sex crimes. and it didn't take long before ebie himself confessed. >> this confession has everything in it that kevin fox's confession lacked. >> reporter: and there was something more. a dna match that closed this case. a case that has wrenched this family through grief and fear to a final sense of justice. >> for every evil thing that's happened in the case, there have been 100 things that have been done that are really admirable and good. >> reporter: i'm ashleigh banfield in new york. >> eight months in prison before finally freed.
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we'll be right back with more news.
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70 years ago at this very time a massive rescue effort was under way. hundreds of small boats from england bringing 338,000 allied troops to britain and safety. >> dozens of ships from that era crossed the evenlish channel yesterday, marking the start of that evacuation. at the time, british prime minister winston churchill called it all a miracle of deliverance. now to a pair tanks that have made their mark on history as well. they were used years after dunkirk as u.s. armies beat back the nazis. >> they were part of the unit that liberated some concentrate camps. on this memorial day weekend they are on display at a new york air show as tim fleischer of our new york station wabc reports. >> reporter: through strand of
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barbed wire, the armored greyhound as the british called it stands at the heart of liberators, freeing thousands of jews and prisoners from death camps during world war ii. does it bring back a lot of memories? >> oh my gosh. i see that 7. that's the lucky 7. >> reporter: the famed 7th armored division. herman horowitz, they called him hy, was with it at the front. normandy, battle of the bulge. >> somehow it survived. somehow it did its job. it did it well. >> reporter: you with it. >> well, yeah. >> reporter: quiet, quick and nimble, it led general patton's historic advance across france. and then led the way, as liberators moved into death camps like mauthausen. >> when we got to the camps what we found was a horrendous sight. >> reporter: hy's friend warner was a prisoner there. >> some people went absolutely berserk. >> to have seen liberators come in must have been an overwhelming site. >> it was.
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>> reporter: the american power museum which has two of the m-8s fully operational uses this illustrated story as an educational tool at schools. in cooperation with the holocaust memorial intolerance center. for hy horowitz and the m-8 greyhounds here, this too is a living history lesson. >> amazing. >> reporter: one now passed on to new generations. reporting from farmingdale, tim fleischer. >> incredible look at those. it's interesting because there's so many memorial day celebrations this weekend, in terms of the president, we said earlier in the show he will be at the abraham lincoln national cemetery outside chicago. he's in chicago, the first time back essentially, and people are saying he will be skipping the traditional arlington national cemetery visit. >> which has upset quite a few people so they're instead going to send vice president joe biden to that ceremony, and of course will be well-represented there. we'll be right back.
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"world news now" delivers your "morning papers." >> i'm sure a lot of people have come up with a lot of excuses when they get in trouble for being over the legal limit in terms of the old -- this kid decided to tell police he was count drunk-ula. he said he had a thirst for blood. he told one of the officers he wanted to drink their blood and eat their kidneys. that's the kid, he's 21 years old, andrew whiteman. he apparently got drunk, tried to break into a convenience store, then when police got to him he said, i'm a century-old vampire who wants to drink blood and eat kidneys. the kicker is he was actually in town applying for college. >> oh, that's nice, that's nice. our youth. he's got issues. our next story's about nba logos that you can now put on your pizzas and your toast. the nba looking to generate a little bit more, i don't know,
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face time for their teams. and the nba itself. so you can -- the pizza logos will be available next season for all 30 teams, made of sugar, starch and food coloring, only add about five bucks to the price of your pizza. they'll also be available next month. >> i think it's kind of a smart idea. would you want a logo -- like at a party? >> i guess, if you really want to do that. i wouldn't pay any extra money. >> they're targeting teens and women so it clearly is working on me. normally we do "the polka" on fridays. we wanted to end on a slightly different note. it really is an important weekend. as we head into memorial day we want to leave you with flags, the ceremony at arlington national cemetery. over 1,500 service members yesterday placing small american flags at every single grave, over 350,000 of them. >> we hope you have a safe memorial day weekend.
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watching the progress of the top kill in the gulf. waiting to see if it's actually going to work. president obama gets a close-up look at a major problem today. tough questions for medicinemakers. >> and everyone has the same question this morning. are these products safe? >> it's all about some of the most popular children's medications on the market. and, a hairy issue. head lice. we'll meet some folks who just want to make it go away. >> we really kind of want to be the starbucks of head lice removal. >> it's friday, may 28th. >> from abc news, this is "world news now." >> the head lice story is actually done by jeremy. he went out and did it. unlike the bedbugs he did not get bit with head lice for this one. >> we hope not. >> cringeworthy to see them
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sucking all that blood. >> better check him out when he comes back. >> good morning and thanks for being with us on this friday. i'm vinita nair. >> i'm todd connor. jeremy is on assignment back west. president obama is back to the gulf today in part to answer criticism he's not doing enough to stop the oil leak. >> new government estimates show the disaster has easily eclipsed the "exxon valdez" as the biggest oil spill in u.s. history. >> reporter: bp has resumed the top kill procedure at that blown well 5,000 feet below the surface. they had suspended operations wednesday night to monitor pressure activity. the oil company said there has been progress and they should know by late friday if the technique worked. >> it's difficult to be optimistic or pessimistic. >> reporter: that heavy drilling mud is being injected at more than 65 barrels a minute until enough of it is in the well to force that gushing oil deep back into the earth. only then will cement be injected the same way. once it has time to harden, perhaps eight to 12 hours, the well will be sealed. >> we just need to let that run its course and we'll see what
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happens. >> reporter: the gulf spill may already be as much as three times worse than the "exxon valdez" disaster. >> this oil spill is an unprecedented disaster. >> reporter: at the white house he insists he's calling the shots. >> bp is operating at our direction. every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance. >> reporter: mr. obama went on to announce he was imposing tough new regulations for future drilling, suspending exploration at two sites off the coast of alaska, and drilling on 33 deep water exploratory wells in the gulf, and canceling lease sales in the gulf and off the coast of virginia. t.j. winick, abc news, grand isle, louisiana. the oil spill appears to be a growing health threat to those workers trying to clean it up. nine fishermen became violently ill, seven hospitalized, by skimming oil in a nature preserve. doctors believe the likely cause is chemical irritation and dehydration from long hours working in the heat. at his news conference the president said the accident had been a wake-up call for the government.
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maybe he shouldn't have been surprised. bp has one of the worst if not the worst safety records of any major oil company. pierre thomas has been investigating. >> reporter: at a congressional hearing, this oil worker said there were a string of failures that led to the disaster. >> the blowout of this well was hardly the first thing to go wrong. >> reporter: there is new evidence that bp may have used cheaper sealing techniques to keep dangerous vapors from leaking from pipes in the well. that may have contributed to the explosion. >> when these companies put their savings over our safety they gamble with our lives. they gamble with my life. >> reporter: as the nation comes to grips with the worst oil disaster in its history, there's not only evidence bp may have cut corners, there's disturbing detail the company has one of the worst safety track records of any major oil company. >> we've certainly seen at bp a tremendous number of violations. we've issued the biggest fines in history. >> reporter: occupational safety health administration records show in the last three years, bp ran up 760 egregious, willful safety violations at
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their u.s. refineries. sunoco and conoco phillips were next with eight each. citgo had two, exxon had one. >> these are far from paperwork violations or technical violations. these are the worst of the worst. these are violations that could lead to catastrophic explosions. >> reporter: those safety problems have had deadly consequences. investigators found bp safety violations led to a 2005 oil refinery explosion in texas that killed 15 and injured 180. bp paid $50 million in criminal fines. what did bp learn from the texas disaster? just last october, osha fined the company $87 million, the largest fine in osha history, because it failed to correct safety problems at that same texas city plant. >> we found those very same hazards hadn't been updated. frankly, those hazards are still there. >> reporter: bp reported profits of $14 billion in 2009. some officials say for bp, these fines seem to be just the price of doing business.
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pierre thomas, abc news, washington. lawmakers in both houses of congress have moved forward on the repeal of don't ask, don't tell policy for gays in the military. the house voted by 234-194 to approve an amendment allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. earlier the senate's armed services committee voted by 16-12 to change the law, overturning the 17-year-old ban still has hurdles ahead including a pentagon review. a new agreement between the u.s. and japan means an american military base will remain on the japanese island of okinawa. both countries agreed this morning that the current u.s. marine facility will now shift to a slightly less crowded part of the island. local residents have complained about noise and crime linked to the base. japan's new prime minister came to office promising that the current one would be moved. former "different strokes" star gary coleman has slipped into a coma and is now on life support at a utah hospital.
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42-year-old coleman was hospitalized after suffering a fall on wednesday. earlier this year he was hospitalized on two occasions for seizures. the actor has long suffered from kidney disease and has had two kidney transplants. here we go. fra forecasters say the 2010 hurricane season could be the busiest since katrina and rita hit in 2005. >> the atlantic season beginning next tuesday is expected to spawn as many as 23 named tropical storms. government forecasters predict eight to 14 of those storms will strengthen into hurricanes and up to seven of them could be major. that means category 3 or higher. >> a hurricane could help break up the oil spill in the gulf or even possibly push it farther inland, which would not be good. here is your friday forecast. hail, gusty winds and heavy thunderstorms from norfolk, virginia, to atlanta. showers and thunderstorms from d.c. up to philadelphia, pittsburgh, and north jersey. severe weather with possible tornados in the dakotas, nebraska and wyoming. showers along the pacific coast. >> wet and chilly 56 in seattle.
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69 in sacramento. phoenix will climb to 98. mostly 80s across the midwest. boston will get up to 69. atlanta 89. and new orleans is 90. well, no scissors needed for this ribbon-cutting ceremony. just 10,000 pounds of anticipation. >> jenny the elephant stomped through a giant ribbon at the dallas zoo into her spacious new home. it was the official opening of the giants of savanna exhibit elephants, giraffes, zebras and other animals. >> looks like she really was just checking it out. when she walked through there. the $30 million project look 17 months to complete. starting today everyone will be able to feed a giraffe, ride a camel, or come nose to nose with a cheetah. >> wow. i don't know if i could handle that, nose to nose. of course there will be some slats between your nose and that face. >> which will be a good thing. >> we'll be right back with more "world news now."
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welcome back, everyone. in medical news the name johnson & johnson is a trusted brand when it comes to children's medicine. why is the government considering criminal charges against the company? >> lawmakers on capitol hill want answers to last month's huge tylenol recall. emily schmidt explains. >> reporter: lawmakers grilled a johnson & johnson executive during a congressional hearing focused on the company's infant and children's medications and the largest known recall of o r over-the-counter children's products. >> and everyone has the same question this morning. are these products safe? >> reporter: over the past eight months, johnson & johnson's mcneil consumer health care announced three voluntary recalls of products like tylenol, motrin, zyrtec and benadryl following quality control issues at a manufacturing plant which
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remains closed today. the recalls follow what the fda calls an extraordinary meeting with management. >> although the public health risks from these quality problems is low, these problems should never have occurred. >> reporter: the fda says it knows of no children who became seriously ill from the recalled products. lawmakers said they obtained information that mcneil knew it had a problem with children's motrin in november 2008 but didn't recall it until the next july, quietly buying up the product in the meantime. >> rather than issue a recall, mcneil allegedly sent contractors out to the stores to buy the products back and told the stores not to mention a recall. >> reporter: a johnson & johnson executive says mcneil alerted the fda it was sampling the retailers' motrin and promises to regain consumers' trust. >> the quality and process issues we found at mcneil, those that led to the recall and others, are unacceptable. >> reporter: the fda said it's considering additional
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enforcement action against johnson & johnson, which could include criminal penalties. emily sha ini schmidt, abc news washington. >> such a household name, which is why this story so is frightening for virtually everyone. one of the quality problems in question, they say some of the drugs actually had a foul odor, in some cases it made people vomit just upon opening these things, people were getting ill. they're saying it was sloppy. >> hard to believe coming from a company of that stature, but these hearings hopefully will help bring out some things that are going on behind the scenes like buying back the medicine. i've never heard of that before. i don't know, hopefully something good will come out of this. when we come back, super lice. >> the new way to fight these little buggers, ew! you're watching "world news now."
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the first family arriving back in their hometown of chicago last night for the memorial day weekend. it will be their first trip back home in more than a year. >> today the president will visit the louisiana coast to assess the oil cleanup there before heading back to chicago.
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all right, switching gears now to a head-scratching topic, head lice. we all remember as kids the head checks at school and for some families, the embarrassment that followed. >> but the treatments that were used back then don't seem to be working anymore. at least not the way they used to. the lice is evolving so treatments must too. here's our own jeremy hubbard. >> reporter: welcome to one of the most expensive children's hair salons in chic west los angeles. the typical bill, about 300 bucks. a steep tab that lourdes doesn't even bristle at paying. does she understand what's going on here? >> no, she just thinks she has buggies in her hair. >> she's not entirely grossed out? >> no, she doesn't get it yet. >> reporter: the traumatized mom brought her daughter here after the school called a few minutes ago saying little gabrielle is infested with lice. >> i called her dad, he was like, oh my god, how did that happen? it was scary. >> reporter: she is now in the hands of professional nit-pickers. they're literally picking hundreds of nits and thousands
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of eggs from the heads of itchy children. fighting on the front lines of an unrelenting affliction now called super lice. >> they call it super lice because it's kind of like antibiotics to humans. when a product is misused, a very toxic product is misused and overused consistently on a bug, you're building up a pretty strong bug, hence super lice. >> reporter: so-called super lice have developed over the past couple of decades, growing increasingly resistant to the $60 million worth of shampoos, creams and chemicals we use every year to combat the parasites. >> everybody's looking for an easy way to do it. take a pill, take one treatment, get rid of them. it's a story of evolution. very rapidly you're going to evolve resistance to whatever you're trying to poison it with. >> reporter: one chemical treatment has been partially banned in california for health and environmental concerns. several other states have looked into banning it too. meantime, this ancient scourge thrives. in the u.s. up to 12 million school-aged kids still become
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infested every year, often kicked out of class until the nits disappear, sometimes missing weeks at a time. with the school year ending, now comes summer camp and the threat of more lice infestations. no one is immune. >> head lice don't discriminate. so it's the beverly hills problem, it's the upper east side problem, it's everybody's problem. it's like the common cold. >> reporter: even celebrities and their children get them. >> he panicked, he went online, he looked. he's like, she has it! >> reporter: courteney cox-arquette talked about her family's lice battle on "the tonight show." >> then i got it and it really wasn't so funny anymore. >> but you don't have it now, ha ha! >> i don't have it now. but i tell ya. >> reporter: but because there is still such a stigma, there's the hair whisperer. that is what amy goldryer calls herself. >> hi, i'm amy. my son got lice in kindergarten. the teacher said, there's a
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place you can go to get rid of it. i was like, there is a place you can go? you can have a career getting rid of lice? why didn't anyone tell me about this? i love to pick, that's my thing. >> reporter: the stealthy lice killer gets up to 15 calls a day from panic-stricken parents, quietly slipping into homes in places like beverly hills without anyone ever knowing so she can save the parents the shame of admitting their children's scalps are covered in bugs. >> i don't know how we get rid of that stigma. to this day people say, i don't want to tell everyone, and that's how you get more lice. if everyone would come out of the closet, we would be so much better off, there would be less lice. it's not the end of the world, no one's going to die from it, but it should be taken care of. >> reporter: not only does she take a fine-toothed comb to the bugs. she's busting out the newest weapon in the parasite fight. this heat machine that uses hot air to burn lice to death. total bill about 300 bucks. she says a single treatment often delouses a child entirely. and it's much safer she says than antiquated remedies like
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kerosene or gasoline some parents desperately dump on their kid's head to kill the bugs. there is, she says, another way to prevent lice in the first place. if you can stomach it. don't wash your hair. >> it's better to have dirty hair. >> tell me about that. >> lice like to grab onto clean hair. if your hair is greasy, it's stuck together so they can't really grab onto one single hair because the hair is stuck together. i tell people to avoid getting lice, if you can have really gross hair, it's better. it's gross. >> so wash twice a week, maybe? >> yeah, or not at all. >> reporter: so often the attempts of well-intentioned parents just don't work. this little girl's folks used over-the-counter remedies for two months but the bugs are still here in startling numbers. >> you'll get over-the-counter prescription, they'll be struggling with it at home. usually then they hear about us, that's when they come in, we take care of it for them. >> reporter: with no shortage of mortified parents and no shortage of super lice with a suborn will to live, lice specialists are opening up
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across the country. at the hair fairies lice salon, business is booming. maria bothham has opened five salons across the country and hopes to put one in every state. >> we really want to be the starbucks of head lice removal and we're the first to market in this. now there are tons of businesses like ours. >> reporter: like most salons her success will rely on repeat business. are you itching your hair now? >> yes, i am, as a matter of fact i was just thinking, my head is itching too. >> reporter: remember lourdes? odds are she'll be back. since her daughter is infested, there is about a 90% chance she'll get them too. >> it's a parent's worst nightmare? >> i think so. yes, definitely. >> reporter: i'm jeremy hubbard in los angeles. >> hm, i have two young kids in school and they haven't been hit yet. you wait for that day. you don't know if it's coming. assistance getting around their homes.
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if you haven't been i highly recommend it. the 94th running of the indianapolis 500 is this sunday. and all eyes will be on helio castroneves as he tries to become the fourth racer to win the race four times. >> he's still got those "dancing with the stars" feet. it all starts at 1:00 p.m. eastern here on abc, and robin roberts gets things started when she drives the indy 500 pace car. finally this half hour, quite the week for tv finales. we said good-bye to the shipwrecked cast of "lost" and "24's" jack bauer. >> even the villain we all love to hate, simon cowell, said good-bye to an adoring crowd. who can forget "law and order"? john berman takes a look back.
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>> reporter: this will forever be known for the week that television got a little less mean. >> that was extraordinary. >> thank you. >> unfortunately, extraordinarily bad. >> reporter: a little less just. >> objection. >> sustained. >> reporter: a little less punctual. but a lot more dead. >> they're all dead? >> reporter: gone are television staples. >> you get no argument from me there. >> reporter: "law and order." at 20 years tied with "gunsmoke" for the longest-running drama of all-time. >> you and i have to talk. >> reporter: "24" filled with terrorists, torture and enough toughness to be part of a new california political ad. >> a u.s. senator that jack bauer can be proud of. >> reporter: if toughness is what you like you'll miss simon cowell. leaving "american idol." say ciao to churlishness. >> you're not going to hollywood, get out. >> reporter: au revoir to arrogance. >> can i sing something else? >> please. >> reporter: bye-bye to brutality. how much will we miss them? by comparison 105 million viewers watched the finale of "m.a.s.h." in 1983. that's the equivalent of one
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"american idol" finale, two "losts," three "24s," three and a half "law and orders." in this era with so many tv options it's not always just about the numbers. alex green sat through a four-day "lost" marathon. this is all pretty emotional for you. >> absolutely. >> what i made most of this week of endings was network television still matters. >> reporter: and with the internet and tivo, these shows, these characters, might go off the air but they will never die. well, except in "lost." they are dead, right? john berman, abc news, new york. >> kind of amazing to think a two and a half hour finale, that's what it was for "lost," people are still left going, what happened? pretty much what i thought of the whole show, though, i didn't get a lot of it.
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my responsibility. that's what the president said that the gulf oil disaster really is. >> this has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred. >> he's going back to the gulf coast today. neighborly dispute. up in alaska. check out the lengths sarah palin's gone to to keep an author from getting a good look at her family. and, as we get set to mark memorial day, to the rescue. >> i don't know how they achieved it but they did. >> reliving the mission that saved a nation and changed the course of world war ii. it's friday, may 28th. >> from abc news, this is "world news now." >> as the holiday weekend gets under way it certainly is an important look back at history. >> certainly is. >> good morning and thanks for being with us on this friday. i'm vinita nair. >> i'm todd connor sitting in for jeremy hubbard today. the oil spill in the gulf is now the worst such disaster in our nation's history.
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well surpassing the "exxon valdez" in terms of damage at least. >> president obama returns to the gulf today. as ryan owens reports he is on the defensive over his handling of the crisis. >> i take responsibility. it is my job to make sure that everything is done to shut this down. >> reporter: more than a month after this country's worst-ever oil spill, the leader of this country is still trying to convince americans he's in charge. >> those who think that we were either slow on our response or lacked urgency don't know the facts. this has been our highest priority since this crisis occurred. >> reporter: a crisis that continues to grow. a panel of scientists picked by the government determined far, far more oil is leaking than bp ever acknowledged. as much as four times the previous estimate. enough that even if the leak is
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stopped now, it dwarfs the "exxon valdez." still, when the president spoke at midday, hopes were high it was almost over. that bp was close to capping the well with its latest idea, supposedly its best, called the top kill. beginning wednesday afternoon, they injected drilling mud into the blowout preventer. the mud is heavier than the oil and if bp can force enough in fast enough, it should drown the oil back deep into the ground. then cement can be injected and the well can finally be sealed. >> it's quite a roller coaster. every time we start a new operation we obviously believe it could be successful. we obviously want it to be successful. but we actually understand where we stand today, which is the well continues to flow. >> reporter: if you feel like you were left in the dark most of the day, you're in good company. the man put in charge of the federal response, the tough-talking coast guard commandant who's supposed to be holding that proverbial boot to
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bp's neck, didn't seem to have any idea that top kill was on hold. >> they're pumping mud into the wellbore, as long as the mud's going down the hydrocarbons are not coming up. >> reporter: bp has started pumping that drilling mud again and is now considering the so-called junk shot. shooting golf balls and shredded tires into the well. if they do, it's unclear when they will bother to tell anyone what they've done. even those who keep insisting they're in charge. >> when i woke up this morning, and i'm shaving and malia knocks on my bathroom door and peeks in her head and she says, "did you plug the hole yet, daddy?" >> reporter: no, malia, your father didn't. and 38 days later, neither did bp. i'm ryan owens in grand isle, louisiana. >> and the oil spill appears to be a growing health threat to those working to clean it up. nine fishermen became violently ill, seven hospitalized, while skimming oil in a nature reserve. doctors believe the likely cause is chemical irritation and
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dehydration from long hours working in the heat. lawmakers in both houses of congress have moved forward on the repeal of the don't ask, don't tell policy of gays in the military. the house voted by 234-194 to approve an amendment allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. earlier the senate's armed services committee voted by 16-12 to change the law. overturning the 17-year-old ban still has hurdles ahead, including a pentagon review. in india, maoist rebels are thought to be behind a deadly train collision earlier today. officials say an explosion derailed 13 carriages. they then fell onto another track and were hit by a freight train. at least 65 people are believed to have been killed and scores of others injured. indian government officials say the rebels have been threatening an attack in the region. in jamaica the manhunt for a drug lord wanted here in the u.s. is intensifying as the death toll there rises. jamaican officials say at least 73 people have now been killed
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in violence related to the search for christopher coke. and despite four days of violence and the arrests of dozens of people, there are still no signs of coke. u.s. citizen laurie bearenson is settling into her new home a free woman. the native new yorker walked out of a peruvian prison after serving 15 years for helping a guerilla group. her new neighbors were less than welcoming calling her a terrorist and telling her to leave. pharmaceutical giant johnson & johnson may be facing criminal charges stemming from last month's massive recall. children's tylenol and other popular medicines for kids were pulled off the shelves. some say sloppy quality control is to blame. more now from abc's sharyn alfonsi. >> reporter: it's the medicine parents lean on in the middle of the night. children's tylenol, benadryl, motrin. but the massive recall of pediatric products has consumers and now congress very concerned. >> everyone has the same question this morning. are these products safe?
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>> reporter: lawmakers grilled executives from johnson & johnson, the parent company of mcneil consumer health care. they manufactured children's drugs at this pennsylvania plant. it's been closed for weeks as they try to clean up a laundry list of problems. >> we have a very high standard. because i think consumers expect a lot of us. and i think we did not adhere to that high standard. >> reporter: fda inspection of the plant that makes all these children's materials cites a failure to properly train employees, shoddy maintenance and inspection of equipment, bacterial contamination in some raw materials, and they say the company failed to investigate 46 complaints of foreign materials, black and dark specks, in the medicine. still, the fda says, all of those problems only pose a remote risk to consumers. the company had three other drug recalls in just the last seven months. that included tylenol arthritis, benadryl, st. joseph's baby aspirin. some of the drugs had a foul odor that literally made
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customers vomit. now lawmakers find the problems may go back to 2008. they say the company knew there were problems with other drugs but didn't tell anyone. >> rather than issue a recall, mcneil allegedly sent contractors out to the stores to buy the products back and told the stores not to mention a recall. >> reporter: the fda says it could lead to criminal charges. they're urging parents to buy generic medicine for their kids. we called pharmacies around the country and about half of them were sold out of the generic. add to that new concerns that some generic drugmakers are having their own manufacturing problems. >> i actually don't know what to do. >> reporter: parents relying on a heavy dose of caution. sharyn alfonsi, abc news, new york. well, the 2010 hurricane season could be the busiest since katrina and rita hit in 2005. >> government forecasters say the atlantic season beginning
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next week is expected to spawn as many as 23 named tropical storms. they predict eight to 14 of those storms will strengthen into hurricanes and seven of those hurricanes will be major, getting up to category 3 or higher. and here is a look at your weather for this friday. stormy in virginia, the carolinas and georgia with heavy rain, large hail and high winds. thunderstorms from the nation's capital up to new jersey. windy with hail and isolated tornados from cheyenne to bismarck. popup showers from new orleans to memphis. >> 94 in dallas. 84 in kansas city. 85 in minneapolis. low 70s in new york and baltimore. 60s in billings, boise and sacramento. and 50s in the pacific northwest. all right, normally about this time in our show we like to have a light story, something a little humorous or whatever. we usually call it a kicker. but we're not going to do that this morning. >> this morning we want to tell you about what the military calls its flags in ceremony at arlington national cemetery. over 1,500 service members yesterday placing small american flags at every single grave.
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that is over 350,000 of them. >> the military, of course, considers it a sacred ritual marking the start of the memorial day weekend observance. and, of course, you can see why. we'll take a break, we'll be right back.
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president obama is now weighing in on claims by pennsylvania congressman joe sestak that he was offered a job in exchange for not running against senator arlen specter. sestak beat specter in pennsylvania's democratic senate
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primary. president obama says his transparency promise is intact. >> there will be an official response shortly on the sestak issue, which i hope will answer your questions. you will get from it my administration. and it will be coming out, when i say shortly, i mean shortly. i don't mean weeks or months. with respect to the first -- [ inaudible question ] -- unethical or illegal, sir? >> i can assure the public nothing improper took place. >> some republican lawmakers have called on the attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor to look into the matter. well, sarah palin has a new next door neighbor. but don't expect any welcome to the neighborhood gifts be exchanged there. >> a journalist working on an unauthorized biography of palin has rented the house and she isn't happy about it at all. neal karlinsky has more from wasilla, alaska. >> reporter: our vantage from a boat sailing past sarah palin's wasilla, alaska, home shows an
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ever-expanding compound bustling with construction. but it's the newest addition that's the focus right now. this fence the palins are putting up to block the view of an author who rented the house right next door. palin writes of making the strange discovery on her facebook page. wonder what kind of material he'll gather while overlooking piper's bedroom, my little garden, and the family's swimming hole. you can see the fresh fence they've put up. they haven't finished it yet. this blocks his view. here's his house, there's the palins' house. >> people have said already -- >> reporter: the former vice presidential candidate called in to glenn beck's radio show to express her frustration. >> he's an odd character. yeah, if you look at his history and the things that he's written and the things he's been engaged in. but, you know, as they say, fences make for good neighbors and todd and his buddies started the fence yesterday and it's looking good. >> reporter: the new neighbor is author joe mcginniss, who has written critically of palin in the past and rented her
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neighbor's house so he could write a book about palin. but when we knocked on his door to chat the man accused of invading sarah palin's privacy claimed we were invading his. are you joe? can we ask a question? >> do i have to call the wasilla police? get off my property. now. >> have you heard anything from the palins? >> reporter: people who live nearby told us they think the strategy of living alongside palin is strange at best. >> i think it's a little creepy. yeah. i'd be creeped out. >> i don't know the guy, could care less. as long as he don't rain on my parade, i won't rain on his. >> reporter: mcginniss' view of the palin house is mostly gone and he's now put up no trespassing signs around his own property. police in town are watching closely and hopeful the former governor and her new neighbor can get along. >> he certainly has a right to rent a piece of property, which it appears he's done. he's there lawfully. we don't have a position on whether he should or shouldn't
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be there. we haven't had any reports of any criminal activity, any problems. thus far. >> reporter: the book is tentatively titled "sarah palin's year of living dangerously," scheduled to be released next year. the book's publisher has released a statement saying, mr. mcginniss will be highly respectful of his subject's privacy as he investigates her public activity. neal karlinsky, abc news, wasilla, alaska. >> i can see some people thinking it's creepy. my first thought is, don't they have zoning ordinances in wasilla, putting up a 12-foot fence? is there a rule against that? >> i think it's ultimately one of those questions of how would you respond to it? if someone was writing something about you, let alone someone who has written something critical of her, he wrote about her natural gas pipeline plan, how would you feel if they chose to live in a house right next to you? how comfortable would that make you feel? >> a little uncomfortable. >> that book is due 2011 so we should be able to see what living so close, what effect it had on the book. all right, it is time for your "skinny" when we come back.
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we start this morning's "skinny" on a really sad note. it involves the actor gary coleman. very famous for "different strokes." he has now slipped into a coma and he is on life support at a utah hospital. this is the latest update in the story. wednesday he suffered a fall, he was immediately taken to a hospital, and most of yesterday we were hearing he was in critical condition, coming in and out of consciousness. but the latest update is his intercranial hemorrhage. and like i said, he is on life support at this point so totally unconscious. he's had health problems in the past. earlier this year he was hospitalized on two occasions for seizures. he's also long suffered from kidney disease. he's had two kidney transplants in the past. as if things weren't bad enough in terms of his health, his lawyer has stepped forward and
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said that when coleman had heart surgery it was complicated by pneumonia. so that surgery took place last fall. so many thoughts and prayers are with the actor right now. in a statement, it certainly says something along the lines of he appreciates that all of his fans had given him so much support over all these years. like i said, it's a very sad story, something i don't think anyone could have seen coming. >> he's had legal issues too over the years he's had to deal with. he's had it tough after being such a big star as a child actor and so on. you wish him well. moving on to kiss' gene simmons. seems he took his band's name literally in this case. a former makeup artist has filed a lawsuit on allegations of sexual assault and battery, saying he had grabbed her and said in a "lecherous and inappropriate manner," i like you. this woman, victoria jackson, claims he grabbed her, hugged
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her, all with his costume's spikes poking out, poked her in the face at one time. she said she resisted, simmons started grinding into her, finally released her. anyway, of course he says it didn't happen, his attorney says he can't wait to get into the courtroom and work things out and prove his innocent. he's also had another lawsuit thrown out against him by a couple who alleged he shoved them, pushed them around a little bit, that was dismissed in his favor. gene simmons having a rough go of it. i still love their music. >> i will say of anyone who spends a lot of time with gene simmons, that makeup artist probably does -- >> with all that makeup. >> let's talk about venus williams. because if you've been watching the french open, you have probably seen this. >> a lot more people watching now by the way too. >> where's willis when we need him? he's in love with venus williams. take a look at the outfit she was wearing. this is at the french open. like i said. >> whoo! >> yeah. >> oh my goodness. >> yeah. zoom in on it. >> you're not seeing what you think you are.
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>> it's not her rear-end. she says the design has nothing to do with my rear, it just so happens i have a very well developed one. according to her this is -- it's just part of her irreverent fashion sense. lacy, short dresses with a pair of flesh-colored underpants. keep in mind, i mean, we've seen her in racy things before. look. venus williams in the past. let's look at some of the other outfits she has worn. she's well-known. these girls, both sisters see themselves as fashion icons. it is nice to see someone dressing differently, i just think from far away that flesh-colored underdress could be a little misleading. >> for me it's not so much that, it's almost like the teddy lingerie look that throws me a little bit. >> yeah. >> i don't know. i don't have a problem with it. it's all good, i guess. ken starr, we know that name, it's not the person you think it is. this ken starr, he's a new york investment adviser to the stars, he's taken stars' money, allegedly in a ponzi scheme. ant. when i got my medicare card,
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allegedly in a ponzi scheme. m, allegedly in a ponzi scheme. one allegedly in a ponzi scheme. y, allegedly in a ponzi scheme.
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here are some stories to watch today on abc news. president obama heads to the louisiana coast today for a firsthand assessment of the gulf oil crisis. he will get a briefing from the coast guard and deliver some remarks. a new study out this morning says daily visits to hospitals related to underage drinking are 11% higher over a typical memorial day weekend than on an average day. and motorcyclists from near and far are making their way to washington for the annual rolling thunder tribute to fallen soldiers and those considered missing in action. finally this half hour, it was 70 years ago during the early days of world war ii that allied troops were rescued from the beaches at dunkirk, france. >> it was the biggest rescue attempt in british history and if it hadn't succeeded it's possible a german flag would be flying over london today. here is john kaye of the bbc. >> reporter: seven decades may have passed but some things haven't changed. these are some of the original
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little ships leaving ramsgate, a flotilla of remembrance. in 1940, they rescued more than a third of a million men. now they're heading back to dunkirk together again. >> i think it matters so much to do these returns. we mustn't forget what sacrifices other people made. >> without them coming back, the lives that you and i live today just wouldn't be the same. >> reporter: it was may 1940. british troops were trapped at dunkirk, surrounded by the germans, apparently no way out. the harbor was too shallow for royal navy warships to go in and rescue them. so hundreds of little ships, from paddle steamers to pleasure boats, crossed the channel to help. >> ships of all shapes and sizes manned by sailors and merchantmen of britain. >> reporter: under constant attack, the little ships helped
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rescue more than 333,000 troops. ferrying them home out of danger. >> we beat them back. we got our armies away. >> it was bloody nervous. i don't know how they achieved it but they did. >> reporter: 90-year-old george kaye was among those rescues. he says he owes his life to "operation dynamo." >> it was a impossibility, what they did. but they did it and i've got a lot of gratitude towards those people. >> reporter: when the little ships reach dunkirk, they'll be given a ceremonial welcome by the french authorities. but perhaps more importantly, they'll also be met by some of the veterans they rescued 70 years ago. >> so 300,000 troops that they brought back, according to winston churchill's granddaughter. >> they were expecting a lot fewer, 100,000. so it really is a testament to their bravery.
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